I’m thoroughly enjoying my blogging experience on SpineUniverse.com. I’ve interacted with some interesting colleagues and offered advice to several readers. Now that we are all online, the world seems much more compact!
I’d like to repost a recent article I wrote earlier this week about the value of exercising, even for patients in pain. Several of my Calmare scrambler therapy patients used walking (starting slow and building distance and speed) as the first exercise they undertook once their pain was under control.
Just be sure to consult with your treating doctor about how much and what exercise is right for you, depending on your medical condition.
Now. Water aerobics anyone?
From a doctor’s perspective, treating chronic pain is one of the most difficult professional challenges. Every patient is completely unique and so is their body and mind’s reaction to pain. As a chiropractor who does not support invasive therapies or drugs, it’s my job to help patients discover additional ways to minimize pain that works uniquely for them.
Depending on the severity of your medical condition, this can range from the warm embrace of a beloved pet, wrapping the affected area with a warm towel, sipping a soothing cup of tea or ─or working up a sweat!
Although it may seem counterintuitive, exercise can most certainly be an excellent option to lessen pain.
- Your body releases endorphins when you exercise, which puts you in a better mood, combats depression and even helps block pain receptors.
- Exercise also makes your body stronger, which can take some of the stress off areas causing you pain. For example, strengthening your core (belly muscles) can help reduce back pain because your back doesn’t need to work so hard to support your body.
You may be surprised at the positive response your body gives you after even a light workout. First and foremost, however, be sure to discuss starting an exercise routine with your treating doctor first. Once you’ve received the green light to go ahead, consider two of my favorite exercise options:
Yoga is low-impact and incorporates stretching, strengthening, and meditation. Remember, you don’t need to be able to contort yourself into a pretzel to enjoy the benefits of yoga and, in fact, you are encouraged to go at a pace that is comfortable for you. Most gyms and yoga studios offer classes for beginners, so you’re sure to find the class that suits you.
Swimming and Water Aerobics
If yoga isn’t for you, get in the water and consider a water aerobics program. According to the National Council on Exercise, your body weighs 90% less underwater. This takes a lot of stress off of your joints and muscles, allowing you to move more easily. Proper hydration is key with water aerobics because you won’t realize if you’re actually sweating.
You may be reluctant to get out and start exercising at first, but with the permission of your doctor, gently give it a try. Often, my patients will tell me they were skeptical about the benefits of exercising until they tried it.
And even though you’re excited to get started, take it slow at first so your body can adjust to the new level of activity. Starting a safe exercise program empowers patients in pain to be active and fight back against pain on their own terms.
Let me know if you find an exercise that works for you and I’ll be happy to share it.